Hong Kong voters cast votes in an unofficial referendum for democracy

Jun 23, 2014 15:31 IST

Hong Kong voters casted their votes for democracy in an unofficial referendum held on 22 June 2014. In the referendum, nearly 600000 voters casted their votes as part of a civil campaign to directly elect the Chief Executive of Hong Kong.

The referendum, which was to end on 22 June 2014, was extended until 29 June 2014 after the voting website received billions of hits.

The unofficial referendum was organized by Occupy Central Group of Hong Kong. The referendum offers voters three options, which all include a popular vote. There is also an option to abstain. It aims to mobilize thousands on to the streets of the city's financial district as part of its campaign to demand full democracy.

Why unofficial referendum held

The unofficial referendum comes a week after Beijing released a white paper in which it reasserted its authority over Hong Kong, a move that unnerved and enraged many in the city, raising fears of direct intervention.

As per the white paper, Beijing agreed to a vote in 2017 for the city's chief executive, but the candidates must have first been approved by a nominating committee headed by Chinese authorities.

Hong Kong's mini-constitution, the Basic Law, specifies that only a nominating committee can pick leadership candidates. Pro-democracy activists say this should be changed to allow public nominations.

The holding of unofficial referendum was declared illegal by the Chinese government which will harm Hong Kong in the long-run.

Current status of Hong Kong with China

On 1 July 1997, Hong Kong became the first Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, under the principle of one country, two systems. The deal included a promise of democratic reform, at an unspecified date.

Hong Kong's independent judiciary functions under the common law framework. The Hong Kong Basic Law governs its political system, and stipulates that Hong Kong shall have a high degree of autonomy in all matters except foreign relations and military defence.

The head of the government, the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, is chosen by an Election Committee of 400 to 1200 members. The Election Committee is headed by the Chinese authorities.

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Read more Current Affairs on: Hong Kong , voters casted their votes , unofficial referendum

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